Resource: “A successful strategy to get college students thinking critically”

By: Brook Sattler, PhD, CPREE multi-campus coordinator

In an effort to support first-year physics students’ critical thinking, scholars engaged students in working through experiments in a lab and then comparing their experiment to other answers. “By applying some statistics they were gradually learning, they grappled with why their comparisons came out the way they did” (Johnson, 2015). Through reflecting on their own answers and comparing those answers to other experiments, students considered why they were different, where their thought process deviated, etc. This reflection opportunity led to critical thinking.

In implementing this pedagogical approach, the educators wanted to foster scientific thinking. In the end, this approach of  reflecting and refining their lab skills had beneficial effects, even lasting at least a year past intervention.


Johnson, S. K. (2015). A successful strategy to get college students to think critically. In ars technica.